We use food for nourishment, and we use food as medicine. Black garlic is used as both. Black garlic is “aged” or fermented white garlic.
During the process of fermentation, food (in this case garlic) is loaded with enzymes as it decomposes. The decomposition of its organic substances are broken down into simple compounds. Through this process, flavonoids and polyphenols (micronutrients packed with antioxidants) increase and complex proteins, fats, and starches are pre-digested. These pre-digested compounds are easier to absorb by the body. Fermented food is also rich in friendly bacteria which brings balance and health to the gastrointestinal tract (the gut).
According to studies, the beneficial effects of regular white garlic increase dramatically during fermentation putting black garlic on the list of superfoods.
Turning Regular Garlic Into Black Garlic
With imagination comes the power to create and to modify what we can’t create at the moment. Cultures around the world have used plants for pleasure and for taking care of their needs. The instinct of survival have guided cultures to rely on plants for nourishment and for relieving unhealthful conditions; so it is natural to experiment with food in search for delighting our taste buds or for healing purposes.
People eat raw food and also eat cooked, smoked, dried, juiced, and fermented food for different reasons. Black garlic is another way of consuming garlic and taking advantage of its enhanced properties.
Black garlic is the result of a controlled process of fermentation. This technique consists of exposing the whole bulb to a temperature ranging from 140 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit while keeping the humidity of its environment at 80 or 90 percent. It is left to age for two to three months without the addition of artificial colorings, preservatives or other chemicals. The result is a dark or black garlic that has lost its sharpness and strong smell and has turned soft, sticky and sweet.
Where Did Black Garlic Come From
According to different sources, the practice of making black garlic came from Asia. Countries like Japan, Korea, and Thailand add black garlic to some of their dishes. It is also eaten alone.
Top chefs in the U.S. started to use black garlic in their exotic dishes, and black garlic became very popular. Yet, most people are more interested in its nutritional components and in its medicinal effects than in its interesting taste.
The Benefits of Black Garlic
If fermentation enhances the benefits of certain foods and turns them from nutritious to amazingly nutritious, then black garlic is one of the best examples of these fermented foods. The benefits of black garlic have been proven by scientific studies and extensive research.
Some of the benefits of black garlic are:
- That it has more antioxidants and amino acids than regular garlic
- It stimulates the appetite and aids digestion
- Helps to eliminate toxins and parasites from the body
- Has antibiotic and diuretic effects that cannot be overlooked
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Boosts circulation
- Helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Boosts the immune system
- Has antimicrobial properties
- It is antifungal
- Helps to normalize blood sugar levels
- It makes the absorption of powerful and beneficial compounds easier
- Prevents fatty acid build up
- Helps support liver function
- Has cholesterol lowering agents
- Relieves allergies
There is an abundance of information on the life-enhancing nutrients of black garlic. Keeping a healthy lifestyle and consuming superfoods, like black garlic, can also help in staying productive, active, young looking and happier as one ages.
A Last Word
Black garlic can be taken in supplement tablets or as a food. Just like with any food or supplement, it is important to maintain moderation. As we search for more nutritious food and supplements to keep healthy, we will find that nature offers its valuable resources as a gift.